Coronavirus

A member of the University of South Florida’s Counseling Center in Tampa has tested positive for coronavirus.

All evictions in Hillsborough County are suspended, effective immediately. 

Duval Public School students will be returning to the classroom virtually on this coming Monday, March 23. 


  As COVID-19 shutdowns take effect all over the state of Florida, local restaurants, bars and other small businesses have been seriously impacted. 

Emergency response agencies, like the Fort Myers Fire Department are often on the front lines during uncertain times.


 As more Covid-19 cases are confirmed in SWFL, WGCU’s Andrea Perdomo spoke with the Fort Myers Fire Chief, Tracy McMillion about precautions his department is taking.


Update: 3/19

 

Another major tourist attraction in Panama City Beach will close through the end of the month. Pier Park, an outdoor shopping mall and amusement park, closed on Wednesday evening, according to a release from Simon Property Group.  The attraction will reopen on March 29. 

Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare has set up a drive-through sample collection center to test for COVID-19. The Northwood Centre drive-through site is the first of its kind in Leon County, where as of today (Wednesday, March 18) there are still no confirmed cases of the virus.

Law enforcement and court officials are working to keep coronavirus out of their systems. Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil says his department is working to create more space inside their detention centers to comply with social distancing recommendations. That could involve releasing some inmates and using more discretion when it comes to booking new ones.

Two local hospitals tonight (Wednesday, March 18) are reporting the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tallahassee. Three people tested positive for coronavirus, one of whom has died.

A fourth person who could have been exposed to coronavirus at an assisted-living facility in Fort Lauderdale has now been hospitalized, a fire official says.

To help stop transmission of the coronavirus, many federal immigration facilities have closed as of Tuesday night. But many are staying open in South Florida.

Several Broward County employees say they are frustrated at a lack of policies and clarity on the ability to work from home while the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across Florida. 

That is despite that fact that the employees say their jobs can easily be done from home, and despite official guidance from the White House suggesting that employees do just that.

China, the country on the frontlines of the novel coronavirus pandemic that has infected 81,000 people there, marked a milestone on Thursday: for the first time since December, it has no new domestic cases to report.

At the same time, China's National Health Commission announced 34 new cases contracted elsewhere and imported from abroad to the country's mainland, while Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous territory, reported 25 new imported cases.

Officials are stepping up their warnings to younger Americans about the coronavirus, because they can more easily spread the virus without having symptoms and now because new evidence shows the potential for some younger people to suffer severely from it.

President Trump announced Wednesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency "now is fully engaged at the highest levels" in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Trump says the agency is activated at level 1.

FEMA is best known for coordinating responses with state and local governments to natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Responding to a pandemic is a different job for the agency.

"This is a very different kind of work for FEMA," Trump said, "but they will come through as they always do. We have tremendous people, tremendous talent in FEMA."

Financial markets have tumbled, manufacturing has slowed, retail is suffering and some states are seeing a jump in unemployment claims all due to the global coronavirus pandemic. But one business that has been in high demand is professional cleaning.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced on Wednesday agents will temporarily postpone most arrests due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead the agency will focus on only pursuing people who pose public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention on criminal grounds.

It is unclear how long the new strategy will be in place but officials explained in a statement the move is designed to "ensure the welfare and safety of the general public as well as officers and agents."

Bowing to increasing pressure to do so, President Trump announced Wednesday he would use a law dating back to the early years of the Cold War to address serious shortages of supplies needed for responding to the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.

Concerns about the coronavirus pandemic dampened voter turnout across the state of Florida for Tuesday’s presidential primary election.

With federal health experts warning the country may not turn a corner on containing this virus until the summer, some election officials are preparing for an August election that involves nobody going to the polls.


As Coronavirus Surges, Programs Struggle To Reach Vulnerable Seniors Living At Home

Mar 18, 2020
Illustration of a elderly woman looking out the window of her own and a yard sign that says stay away.
Hannah Norman/KHN Illustration

Close down group meals for seniors. Cancel social gatherings.

The directive, from the Illinois Department on Aging, sent shock waves through senior service organizations late last week.

Near Trump’s Florida Home, Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing Gets Off To Rocky Start

Mar 18, 2020
Phil Galewitz/KHN

Mar-a-Lago Club, home to the country’s most high-profile COVID-19 exposure. A week ago, President Donald Trump and a few top aides hosted a festive dinner with Brazilian officials, some later found to be ill with the novel coronavirus.

As Coronavirus Testing Gears Up, Specialized Swabs Running Out

Mar 18, 2020
yellow and orange microscope imaging of the coronavirus cell.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The two top makers of the highly specialized swabs used to test patients for the novel coronavirus are straining to keep up with the demand, even as both the Italian and U.S. governments are working with them to increase production, including at a key manufacturing site in the midst of Italy’s outbreak.

Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order Tuesday closing bars and nightclubs statewide for 30 days. WFSU spoke with one bar owner who’s grappling with the uncertainty of her employees’ livelihoods.

All of Miami-Dade County is closing restaurants, bars, movie theaters and other places that draw crowds in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Commencement ceremonies at the University of South Florida and other state universities will be postponed indefinitely.

Florida students will not return to classes until after April 15, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday afternoon.

Additionally, all remaining testing will be cancelled for the remainder of the school year and there will be no school grades released for the 2019-2020 school year.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced on its website Tuesday that while Florida State Parks currently remain open for day use, effective immediately, all Florida State Parks are changing day-use visitation hours to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Pinellas County officials are limiting restaurant alcohol sales, a day after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announced his city will stop them at 9 p.m.

However, they are keeping beaches open for the time being.

A Manatee County patient has become the state’s seventh fatality from the coronavirus, state officials announced on Tuesday.

Former Vice President Joe Biden cruised to a commanding win in Tuesday's Florida presidential primary Tuesday over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. But the biggest issue at the polls had little to do with politics.

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